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 Post subject: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sun 05, 2017 11:12 pm 
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Joined: Oct Sat 07, 2006 12:47 pm
Posts: 164
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
A few months ago I started a restoration of my grandparents RCA R-6 radio. I quickly decided much of the wiring needed to be replaced. Some of the wires were not solid but had colored tracers or patterns woven into the insulation. While you can get cloth insulated wire in solid colors I could not find a source for wire with patterns in the lighter gauges. I got distracted.

After a bit of research, some time spent restoring an antique braiding machine, and some experimentation I am able to produce cloth insulated wire that looks pretty close to the original.

To make the wire in the photo, I started with 20 gauge tinned solid copper bus wire. I braided two layers of cotton thread over the wire. The result is a fairly tight weave on the wire. To minimize fraying when the wire is cut, I lacquered the wire with brush on lacquer thinned with lacquer thinner. The lacquer also provides a good "push back" quality to the insulation. The wire is still pretty flexible.

Concerned about the quality of the insulation I obtained an insulation tester. Testing the wire to 1000 VDC for over a minute resulted in a resistance reading of over 2000 meg ohms. That's the highest the meter goes. I have tested with meter with known resistances and the meter responds appropriately but I would like to test the wire with another meter.

I have also made stranded wire. To produce 20 gauge stranded I use 19 strands of 32 gauge tinned copper wire and apply two layers of cotton braid.

I realize this effort was a bit over the top but I learned a lot, had some fun and met a couple of new people in the process. I think I should get back to my grandparents radio now.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sun 05, 2017 11:15 pm 
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Location: Annapolis, MD
That is really neat!!

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sun 05, 2017 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 18, 2010 2:13 am
Posts: 22193
Location: Dayton Ohio
Wow!

You could certainly have a market for such stuff!
How hard is it to find braiding machines?

Zenith had cables between the radio chassis and power supply of their late 20s, early 30s with rubber wire which crumbles badly.
It would be amazing to get a bundle of the right wires (modern vinyl) and cover the bundle with a cloth covering.

I'm very impressed with what you posted. Nice work!

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sun 05, 2017 11:28 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 02, 2014 5:57 am
Posts: 769
Location: Memphis, TN
Thats really neat! I need one of those braiding machines. It probably wouldn't be too hard to sell the wife on that one.

I like Steve's idea of braiding over modern insulated wire. That way, you get the best of both worlds.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sun 05, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 10332
Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
Very nice work! Are you going to make some for sale?

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 12:27 am 
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Joined: Mar Sun 09, 2008 12:32 am
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Location: Dallas Texas
Can you post a picture of the braiding machine?

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 12:40 am 
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Joined: Oct Sat 07, 2006 12:47 pm
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
" Can you post a picture of the braiding machine?"

Sure. This a link to a youtube video of my braiding machine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHKRGnmzLs0&t=9s The beginning has some stills then followed by some video showing the machine in operation. To make the wire shown in the photo in my initial post here, I had to make modifications to the machine. Those modification where made after this video was made.

I purchased this machine from a broker of industrial machines in Fall River, Massachusetts.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 12:49 am 
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Quite a hypnotic bit of machinery. Love the old machines.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 12:52 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15953
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Braiders are common here in S. Ma and Rhode Island. Still made by New England Butt, sold used by textile machine liquidators. A 16 carrier generally goes for 350 in poor condition. rebuilt $1000 plus. The important part is the braider plate but if the horns on the gears are worn, the machine will often jam... Old worn machines are very noisy. A new machine is almost silent.

http://www.unitedtextile.com/catalog/cfCatalog.cfm?c=11

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Last edited by Chas on Jan Thu 02, 2020 11:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 1:22 am 
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Joined: Oct Sat 07, 2006 12:47 pm
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
"Are you going to make some for sale?"

I have considered that but I have a few reservations about doing so. So far I'm the only one who has evaluated the wire. Prior to asking people to pay for it I think it necessary to have the wire evaluated by others. I intend to retire in a year, at that time I might be more inclined to make/sell wire. I doubt there is much profit here but if we can make more authentic restorations that would be enough for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 2:07 am 
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Joined: Apr Thu 26, 2012 2:18 am
Posts: 488
Location: Tulsa, ok 74104
you should consider making power cables for battery sets
benny


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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Mon 06, 2017 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 18, 2015 5:01 am
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Location: Waxahachie Texas
Very cool. Nice job.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Thu 09, 2017 8:00 am 
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Location: Tennessee 38058
I'm impressed!

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 Post subject: Re: Cloth Insulated Wire
PostPosted: Nov Sat 18, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 09, 2011 4:07 am
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Location: MD-DC 20855
Ditto, much impressed! Hope you pursue this. Very useful to restorers!

David

WPE3FMJ

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